This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.
Why Does God Bring Clouds?
It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials. In every cloud He brings, God wants us to un-learn something. God’s purpose in the cloud is to simplify our belief until our relationship to Him is exactly that of a child. God uses every cloud which comes in our physical life, in our moral or spiritual life, or in our circumstances, to bring us nearer to Him, until we come to the place where our Lord Jesus Christ lived, and we do not allow our hearts to be troubled.
Christianity does not add to our difficulties, it brings them to a focus, and in the difficulties we find Jesus Himself. We must get out of the habit of misinterpreting God by saying He wants to teach us something, it is not a New Testament idea, but an idea that is as unlike the God whom Jesus revealed as could be. God is all the time bringing us to the place where we un-learn things. … In everything that happens we should be un-learning that which keeps us from a simple relationship to God. …
There are no such things as “calamities” or “accidents” to God’s children—“all things work together for good.”
From God’s Workmanship
Futurist Alvin Toffler wrote that the illiterate of this age are those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. God wants to do the same thing for us. God doesn’t want us to be spiritually illiterate, so there are times to learn and times to un-learn.
The next time you are going through some clouds in your spiritual walk, pause to ask the Holy Spirit, “What do I need to un-learn from this?” And then follow through on what He shows you.
“Unbelief in Scripture is spoken of as the sin of sins. As faith is the root of all good, so is unbelief of all evil. God hates it; Christ condemns it; our own hearts cannot but say it is evil. ‘The evil heart of unbelief’ is the most evil of all. … Unbelief is injustice—
“Unbelief checks prayerfulness—Prayer implies expectancy: ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’ Where unbelief comes in, this expectancy is stopped; and prayer becomes irksome, and in the end brief and infrequent.” —Horatius Bonar
I am so proud of my Calvary Assembly of God family! Everyone pitched in to donate supplies, pack everything up, and then take these vital supplies to the needy in the inner city of Grand Rapids. One of the best compliments I heard was from a gentleman who stopped by for some items, when he said, “Thank you for treating us like human beings!”
Our team was there to show the love of Jesus in the most tangible way they could.
Yet Abraham did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. (Romans 4:20-21)
“The literal translation of this passage from the Greek expresses the thought in this way: God is not merely able but abundantly able, bountifully and generously able, with an infinite surplus of resources, and eternally able ‘to do what He had promised.’ He is the God of limitless resources—the only limit comes from us. Our requests, our thoughts, and our prayers are too small, and our expectations are too low. God is trying to raise our vision to a higher level, call us to have greater expectations, and thereby bring us to greater appropriation. Shall we continue living in a way that mocks His will and denies His Word?” —A.B. Simpson
Previously I wrote about NOT trying to change our bad behaviors. That’s because our behavior is a natural outcome of several other factors (read more about that by clicking here). The important progression goes like this: Thoughts → Values → Attitudes → Behaviors.
The two areas we can address are our thoughts and attitudes. When it comes to interacting with other people, notice carefully the words Jesus said: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).
Jesus says that our thoughts about ourselves can limit our thoughts about others. If your thoughts are limited, your value on people and healthy relationships will slide. If those values drop, your attitude about others will begin to sour. And with those thoughts, values and attitude dropping, isn’t it natural to expect that you will struggle getting along with others?
So you must get this clear—
Because you are you-nique, you hear and see the world uniquely, and you respond uniquely. You and I respond mostly by habit.
Habits are good when they are healthy. But unhealthy habits create assumptions and blind spots that can hinder our relationships.
To make new relationship habits requires three things:
If you want to make some new communication habits, get knowledge from people who love you and from reading the Bible. Then read some books or attend some seminars that will give you new skills. Then combine those with your sincere desire to want to improve your relationship habits, and watch for great things to happen!
I am leading our church through a training on our communication styles. Please join us on Sunday as we learn how to better get along with others. I’d love for you to join us either in person or on our Periscope broadcast.